Ontario Liberal Leadership Convention
Pupatello is one of the two front-runners in this campaign with the most elected delegates, 27.44 per cent, heading into the leadership convention. Pupatello, 50, was the MPP for Windsor West for 16 years before deciding not to run in the 2011 election to work in the private sector. She has made much of her time as Minister of Economic Development and Trade during the leadership campaign, characterizing herself as the best candidate to grow Ontario’s economy and create jobs.
Kennedy has served as both an MPP (three terms) and an MP (one term) for Parkdale-High Park but, like Pupatello, is running for the leadership without a seat in the Legislature. The former Ontario education minister is well behind the front-runners with just under 14 per cent delegate support. The 52-year-old also has a history of coming up short in leadership races: He lost to Dalton McGuinty in 1996 and missed out on becoming federal Liberal leader in 2006. He, too, touts the economy and jobs as priorities, with particular focus on youth unemployment.
Charles Sousa, the candidate noticed as much for his disc jockey-smooth baritone as his business and political experience, is in fifth place with just under 11 per cent delegate support. The 54-year-old started his own business before embarking on a more than 20-year career at Royal Bank. He was first elected as MPP for Mississauga South in 2007, and has held cabinet posts including labour, and citizenship and immigration. He is also the minister responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games. His platform includes a focus on job creation, as well support for key provincial industries, including mining and manufacturing.
Wynne is considered the other front-runner in the campaign, and is only slightly behind Pupatello with just over 25 per cent support among elected delegates. The MPP for Don Valley West has served various roles in cabinet, including minister of transportation and minister of education. The 59-year-old says she is committed to the Liberal government’s plan to eliminate Ontario’s deficit by 2017-18, and promises to “diligently manage government spending..."
Takhar is the candidate currently in fourth place with just over 13 per cent of elected delegate support. The 61-year-old’s strong showing heading into the convention means he could play a significant role in who becomes Ontario’s next premier. Takhar was first elected in October 2003 in Mississauga-Erindale, and has held various cabinet posts, including transportation and small business. Two hallmarks of his campaign have been pledges to help small businesses with tax incentives to create jobs, and selling bonds exclusively devoted to raising money for infrastructure projects.
Hoskins will likely be the first candidate to drop out of the running after the first ballot results are announced, having garnered less than six per cent support among elected delegates. Hoskins was first elected as MPP for St. Paul’s in a 2009 byelection, and has served as both minister of citizenship and immigration, and minister of children and youth services. The 51-year-old medical doctor co-founded the charity War Child Canada with his wife, Dr. Samantha Nutt, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. A key campaign platform has been improving support for the not-for-profit sector to help fuel job creation and economic growth.